Previously, artists had to be known for a specific genre to be signed to a label. But in recent years, more and more musical artists have experimented with different genres – from The piece of bachata of the weekend with Rosalía to the iconic pop singer Thalia’s new urban sounds.
Yet it’s rare to see an artist who isn’t known for a specific genre soar to fame. And yet, Manuel Turizo managed to beat those ratings by creating music on his own terms. The 22-year-old Colombian singer and songwriter from Montería, Colombia has released everything from pop music to reggaeton and vallenato. His latest mega hit, “La Bachata”, his first bachata song, rose to No. 1 Latin Airplay and Tropical on the Billboard charts for several consecutive weeks.
But it does not stop there. On November 14, Amazon Music announced new lineup for the holiday season, which includes Turizo’s cover of “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” a classic originally created by Mariah Carey. It’s a decision most artists look forward to making later in their careers, but refusing to be typecast served as the artist’s secret sauce behind his wild success. This year alone, Turizo has become one of the most exciting and unpredictable performers of 2022. This is just the beginning.
“I did reggae. I did pop. I did ballada. I did reggaeton and now bachata. I love music,” Turizo told POPSUGAR. “I haven’t thought of a single thing. I want to try to learn everything.”
Surrounded by a family of musicians, Turizo says his love for music grew from childhood. His father played guitar and saxophone, and his brother also played guitar, eventually becoming a producer and songwriter. By the age of 3, Turizo was already expressing his interest in music, dancing to the beats played at his home, and eventually learning to sing as well as play drums and guitar. At age 12, Turizo found a music teacher who helped him improve his singing skills. It was at this time that the artist began to seriously consider music as a career, and not just a fun hobby.
“Before that, I thought that music [route] was not for me,” he says. ” That’s where it all began. I started thinking, I can do this. It doesn’t make sense to try.”
When he turned 15, the artist told his parents he wanted to drop out of school and pursue a career in music. As he recalls: “They panicked and were like, ‘No way. You must continue in school. They said, “Do you want to make music? Show us that you really want to do it and that you really want to work to do it.” Because when you’re young, you think things are easy. You talk a lot but you have to act as much as you talk.
Turizo took the challenge to heart and soon after moved to the city of Medellín, started meeting people and started recording and writing music with friends without having a specific genre in mind.
“I think all of these sounds influenced Manuel Turizo and the musical identity I was creating.”
“I was really connected to the urban sound because I heard reggae, I heard afrobeats, I heard reggaeton, of course, I heard pop, balladas – everything. I think all those sounds influenced Manuel Turizo and the musical identity that I was creating,” he says. “That’s why if you look at my career and the music that I released [none of the] the songs are the same. It’s different kinds of sounds – each one.”
Turizo isn’t an overnight hit, with popular songs like “Vaina Loca” featuring Ozuna, which dropped in 2018, and “La Nota” featuring Myke Towers, which was released in 2021. But despite his growing fame, his greatest success came after choosing to dip his toes in bachata. ‘La Bachata’ debuts her highly anticipated album ‘2000’, which is slated for release in 2023. And it’s only her second solo track to hit the No. 1 spot since her 2019 single ‘Sola’.
“Manuel is absurdly versatile musically, and it doesn’t get stuck on one genre. He wants to do it all,” Turizo director Juan Diego Medina told Billboard’s Latin/Spanish content director, Leila Cobo, in an October Billboard Bulletin. “He hadn’t released bachata before, but had recorded another bachata, which Romeo Santos actually produced [and will also be included in “2000”]. . . . It was bachata, but not the kind of bachata Romeo or Prince Royce would do. It had an urban touch, a sort of hidden dembow. It was a bet.”
In terms of gaining the support of Santos, the king of bachata himself, Turizo feels honored. “It’s like an extra payment. I’m a big fan,” he says. “Whatever he says about me or my music, to me it’s like, ‘Oh man, Romero is talking about me. . . . I respect him a lot. I dream of doing a song with him one day.”
However, Santos isn’t the only bachata OG Turizo would like to collaborate on a song with. “I would love to collaborate with Juan Luis Guerra”, he adds. “He’s a legend, and he’s part of my childhood memories with my mother. [was] always listening to his music.”
Not only did “La Bachata” help Turizo’s career take off, but its success is also an indicator that genre bending will become more of a norm for emerging artists. He plans to release more bachata songs while paying homage to the Dominican Republic and the creators of the genre.
“Bachata, of course, comes from the Dominican Republic. But right now it’s a global genre.”
“Bachata, of course, comes from the Dominican Republic. But right now it’s a global genre,” he says. “Even in Spain you see artists trying to do bachata. C. Tangana, who is one of the greatest artists in Spain, has done like three bachatas. Rosalia with The Weekend. Nathy Peluso from Argentina also makes bachata. . . it is something that has already influenced our generation. It’s pop music right now, there’s something for everyone.”
Just five weeks after the release of “La Bachata”, Turizo released his latest single “Extasis” (which translates to “ecstasy” in Spanish) with Argentinian singer Maria Becerra. The Afrobeat-style track is his last single before the release of “2000”.
“Thank God I managed to do different genres,” concludes Turizo. “I could say that I started with urban pop, and that was great for me. . . . I feel like I’m an example for the new generation to see that it’s not necessary to do one thing. If you like everything, you can try everything. It doesn’t matter. If you feel it, if you’re connected with it, if you show people, they’ll decide if it’s good or not.”
Indeed, artists like Turizo prove that the time for sticking to one type of music may be behind us.
Image source: La Industria Inc.